Previous studies have focused on staff attitudes to sexuality rather than their experience of dealing with sexual incidents. A self-completion questionnaire was devised in which seven scenarios were proposed relating to client sexuality (e.g. public masturbation and accusation of sexual abuse). Staff noted whether or not they had encountered this type of incident and if so, how confident they felt (or would feel) in dealing with it and whether or not they would enlist the help of colleagues. Questionnaires were sent to all statutory, voluntary and private service providers (including schools) within one Community Health and Social Services Trust area in N. Ireland and 150 staff responded. Around two-thirds of staff reported having dealt with at least one of seven incidents listed. Staff with previous experience of the incident listed felt they could deal more confidently in future as did staff working in residential services rather than day services. The latter staff were more likely to enlist the help of colleagues than were residential staff. Nearly 50% of staff identified more training and clear policy guidelines as the two means of increasing their confidence in dealing with issues of client sexuality. These results highlight the need for staff training that spans agencies and that results in common approaches to client sexuality. Suggestions for further research are noted.
|Journal||Journal of Intellectual Disability Research|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul 2001|